IT WAS THE MOST I TRAVELED EVER! SO MANY DESTINATIONS IN A MONTH!
Last year, 2018, I traveled across X countries with Busabout. To be honest, it was also that year that I first heard about them, and it happened because they were having the Ultimate Travel Squad campaign where they would choose a group of four people to travel all over Europe for free and create content for their Social Media Channels. As a photographer and videographer, I thought I would be the right person for the job and submitted my video application. Long story short, I was not picked!
BUT I ENDED UP GOING EITHER WAY
I will not go into depth about the cities I went to in this article, for that you can check the videos at the end of the article. There are videos for almost every city I stopped, with exception to the ones I only stayed for a night. Here I will tell you what I thought about this type of traveling and will help your decision on whether you should do it too!
Loads of options
You have a lot to choose from! They are best known for their awesome Hop-On Hop-Off service, where you can make your itinerary and travel as you want (more on that later), but you can also find the more traditional Tours where for the extent of the tour you’ll be traveling and staying with the same people, with a travel guide and a bus driver.
My trip started with a Tour, the Ultimate Scandi-Baltic, and I think it was the best way to start. This one starts and ends in Berlin and goes through the Scandinavian Peninsula and the Baltic Region for 15 days.
As a first time traveler on these kinds of tours and not a super social guy, having a closed group of people was easier to get to know my fellow travelers and make friends. Also, the tour guide hosted a few fun games to help break the ice and get people talking, after all, we would be spending 15 days together, sharing a bus and sharing a room.
There are a few different types of Tours, or maybe I should call them experiences because it is not like on every one of these tours you’ll be traveling through a bunch of cities. You can also go to a Music Festival, you can go on a Sailing Trip, you can go to Oktober Fest, and a lot more.
THERE ARE A WHOLE LOT OF OPTIONS!
In all of them, you’ll get an awesome Guide and Accommodation. But for the Multi-City Tours, like the one I did, you’ll also get Bus Transportation between cities and an awesome Bus Driver!
The guides are super knowledgeable and willing to give you tips on what to see and do in each city. In almost every city, the guide that was with us (What's up Ryan!!?) did a welcome tour, where he would walk with us across some of the major landmarks, always explaining what we were seeing and giving pointers to other stuff we could do.
It’s one of the major advantages of Busabout. On these Multi-City Tours you have some Daily Activities included in the price and some other Discounted Activities that Busabout recommends. You might also have group dinners and parties that your guide will arrange.
But you don’t have to go to any of them if you don’t want to! You just have to be in the Hostel in time for the Bus to take you to the next destination. After that, once you get to the destination. you do what you want. Renting a bike and exploring a city by yourself or joining a small tour of the city with the rest of the group.
YOU DO WHAT YOU WANT!
I did the group stuff! The group was full of super cool, interesting people plus an awesome guide and the coolest bus driver (What's up Katie!!?)
NOW THINGS GET EVEN FOR FLEXIBLE AND HERE IS WHERE THE TRUE BACKPACKER EXPERIENCE STARTS.
After the Ultimate Scandi-Baltic tour I was back in Berlin. I had only a few more weeks to travel and I wanted to go to the most photogenic spots. When I saw Lauterbrunnen - Switzerland was on the list I knew I had to make my way there.
For the Hop-on Hop-Off option, you have a Map. Here you have all the cities/destinations the Busabout Buses can take you to. The Map works with a few central cities or hubs and loops that extend to further destinations.
To make my way to Lauterbrunnen I had to go to Munich where I had the option to go through Paris or take a longer route through Italy. I had the time and it would be my first time in Italy, so I did that!
You have buses coming through every day or every other day. The only drawback I found when I first looked at their map system is that the buses only go one way but it was something easily dismissed once I started planning my trip and adding more destinations to my itinerary.
Also, as I already told you, it is super flexible. Once the bus takes you to a destination you can stay as long as you want and even go rogue, exploring other cities that are not on the Busabout map. Whenever you want to get back on the Buses you just need to go to one of the cities on the map, it doesn’t have to be the one where they left you.
The seat on the bus must be booked at least 24h before the trip and I don’t remember ever doing a trip with a full bus, so odds are you’ll have a seat!
A GOOD NIGHT SLEEP
Accommodation is not included in this package but Busabout has a Recommend Hostel in every stop. You can stay wherever you want but the Hostel selection is really good, all super clean and well kept. Of course, some are better than others and sometimes you will not be staying at the city center. It is Europe, it is not always easy to get a Bus into the center of the city.
In Venice, I stayed in the Jolly Camping Village and it did not disappoint. I was staying in Air Conditioned Bungalows, there was a Pool, a Restaurant with good Pizza and a Market. It was not close to the city center, but it was well connected and the camping had buses going to the center all day.
I did not stay in the recommended hostels in every stop but it was because they were already full when I tried to book.
These Hostels are also the pick-up and drop off spots. When you join Busabout you’ll be given a Booklet with all the Destinations you can go, with Tours and Activities you can join, with the Recommended Hostels and with the Timetables with pick up and drop off times. Usually the pick up is at 8am and just that makes it super convenient to stay at the Recommended Hostels.
And as you probably noticed already, I am a fan of the Busabout Crew.
During my trip, I think I had 5 different guides and 5 different drivers. They are responsible for welcoming you to the Bus when you first join, picking you up and dropping you off at the Recommend Hostels, during the rides they’ll talk to you and give you a little summary about the city you’re traveling to, giving you suggestions of things to do/see, they will also share the Discounted Activities that Busabout offers and you’ll be able to book them and pay for right there on the bus!
They are a bunch of fellow travelers that have been doing that for a minute, they know the destinations really well and they are super willing to talk with you and help you plan your stay.
The guides might even join you on a Pub Crawl later!
FRIENDS FOR LIFE
I thought that in the Tours it would be easier to meet new people and make friends, since you are in a closed group for a duration of the tour. And that in the Hop-On Hop-Off I would be doing my thing, discovering new cities and meeting new people but being a solo traveler most of the time. But the truth is that because of the Loops in the Map and the fact that most people stay in the Recommended Hostels you’ll start to see familiar faces and make good friends.
IS THIS FOR YOU
Only you know that, but I would say it is. Mostly because of the flexibility of it all.
I saw best friends traveling together, I saw couples, I saw solo travelers that did their own thing, I saw solo travelers that grouped together and traveled a few cities as a group and then split and go on their way, I saw 18 year olds that just finished High School and wanted to do a Gap Year exploring the world and discovering themselves, I had 60 year old Kiwi’s getting me a beer and telling me how wonderful New Zealand is! Now I have to go there!
It was an Awesome Summer! It was my first time doing a trip of this kind and I can for sure tell you that I would and probably will do it again. They have this running in Asia, they added the USA recently and I still have a lot of Europe to Explore.